So here’s a little thing I wrote — I guess you could call it flash fiction — to get the players set up for our second Marvel Superheroes roleplaying game session. It picks up the tale a few days after our characters’ first superhero action ever.
Wednesday, in the not too distant future
The alarm rings again, its insistent dingdingding… dingdingding… intruding on a comfortable dream. Janey Nevitt turns over in bed, fumbles around the nightstand, and struggles to focus her bleary eyes enough to find her phone and turn it off. With a groan, she stumbles out of bed.
Going to classes at Peninsula College during the day and working evenings at Mario Boys Pizza, she’s always sleepy in the mornings. Today the urge to stay in bed is even stronger than usual, but she’s the type of girl who is always on time, so she zombies through her morning routine anyway.
Last night was her normal night off, but her band, Traumahawk, had a gig opening for Gothmog at the Haystack. Even half-asleep, the excitement returns for a moment. It was the biggest crowd she had ever played for; Gothmog is the most popular local band in Seatropolis, and she’s beyond excited about the fact that her band will be opening for them again on Friday.
Freshly showered and almost awake, she shuffles into her apartment’s tiny kitchen and opens the refrigerator.
Hello, there. What can I make for you today?
It’s been three weeks since she and Penelope bought the TRUtelligence AutoKitchen AI, but it still surprises her every time it speaks to her. She keeps forgetting that the refrigerator is actually part of a nanotech-enabled futuristic machine.
“Janey’s Wednesday breakfast,” she says, and the AI goes to work.
The machine can bake bread, make toast and butter it, whip up a protein shake, brew her morning tea, clean itself, and even do the dishes. And the sandwich module is amazing. Janey isn’t so sure about this new technology, but Penelope is a gadget geek and fanatical follower of everything TRUtelligence does, and she convinced Janey to go in with her on the AutoKitchen AI.
Penelope maxed out her credit card for it, and she and Janey are both being very responsible and making monthly payments. The thing cost more than Penelope’s car, let alone Janey’s trusty little moped, but as she picks up a mug of hot tea, she has to admit that it’s pretty amazing.
Oh, no…the moped! She had almost forgotten about it. Her poor mangled moped…
The kitchen AI starts playing the news—the front panel of the TRUfrigerator is also a 3d holographic video screen—but she pays no attention to it. She was lucky to have come out of that accident with only assorted scrapes and bruises, but the moped was damaged beyond repair. How on earth is she going to deliver pizzas with no transportation? Maybe she can borrow Penelope’s car for a few days…
Suddenly the newscast breaks in on her ruminations.
Everyone wants to know more about the hero who foiled an attempted kidnapping last week. The kidnappers are still at large, and in light of the bizarre nature of the event, rumors have arisen that the kidnapping attempt on Ahria Swann may have been faked by a troubled friend—former child star Sidney Malloy—as a publicity stunt.
Well, hold onto your hats, because Channel 38 News now has exclusive video evidence that the “elephant girl” the whole city has been talking about may in fact be…real. Security cameras at a nearby business captured some of the scene that unfolded last week. Take a look at this!
She spits out her tea. There on the screen, a bit fuzzy at the periphery of the security camera’s view but unmistakable, is an elephant swinging its massive head and throwing three blurry figures aside like rag dolls. The news puts the video in slow-mo to focus on the elephant deliberately placing a foot on the front fender of the kidnappers’ car and crushing the sheet metal down into the tire. A few moments later, the elephant shimmers and shrinks, and in its place stands a girl with blond hair. Her face is shadowed and partially obscured, but Janey knows exactly what it looks like. She saw it in the mirror this morning when she was doing her hair.
The reporters and the police had believed her when she said she hadn’t seen where the “elephant girl” had gone. She was dazed and disoriented after being hit by a car, after all.
We’re reaching out to experts to see if these images can be enhanced. Stay tuned to Channel 38 Impact News for more…on the Astonishing Elephant Girl!
Oh, god, she thinks. Elephant Girl? That’s what they’re calling me? Then she reminds herself that an unflattering nickname could be the least of her worries. She doesn’t even want to think about what might happen if the whole world knew what she could do. Plus, she has more immediate problems to worry about. With her moped wrecked, she’s likely to lose her delivery job. And then how would she pay the rent?
I know, she thinks sarcastically. I’ll just run away and join the circus. I could be a whole menagerie all by myself…
Next up: The Indestructible Girl!
We’re using the classic Marvel Super Hero Roleplaying game system produced by TSR in the ’80s. It’s long out of print (I’m using books I got secondhand back in 1991), but the good people behind the Classic Marvel Forever website have provided all the resources you’ll need if you want to give this excellent old game system a try.
Featured image credit: MisterSnapple at Deviant Art